No room for error - or draws - as Mamelodi Sundowns, Orlando Pirates step out into Africa
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Cape Town - Mamelodi Sundowns and Orlando Pirates will step out into Africa to secure places in the next round of the two continental competitions, knowing only victory will suffice.
Both Mzansi teams will enter the stage on the back of draws in their previous encounters a week ago.
Pirates co-coach Mandla Ncikazi summed the mission today (SUBS: Sunday): "There is no draw that we can play for now. Whether it is 0-0 or 1-1, it gives an advantage to the opponents. So, Pirates must win the match."
Pirates play Diables Noirs of the Congo Republic in a CAF Confederation Cup second leg qualifier at Orlando Stadium (kick-off 5.30pm). They played to a goalless draw in the first leg.
The Sundowns co-coach Manqoba Mngqithi was equally uncompressing when summing up the task at hand. He promised Sundowns would be fighting for a win after they suffered a demoralising 2-all draw last week.
"The fact that we scored two goals away from home might mean nothing," said Mngqithi. "We have to find a way and see that we still dominate. We will fight to win the match and give a good account of ourselves."
Sundowns will host DR Congo outfit AS Maniema Union in a CAF Champions League second preliminary round second leg match at Loftus Versfeld Stadium, Pretoria (kick-off 4pm).
The chances of a Mzansi double over Congolese (the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Republic of Congo) opposition looks promising. Sundowns, because of away two goals last week, only need to draw, unlike Pirates who must win outright to progress.
However, after last week's demoralising draw, Sundowns have set their sights on an outright win to restore lost pride. Their central defender Mosa Lebusa whose blunder cost his team a goal in last week's first leg wants to repair the damage in the second-leg outing.
"We are disappointed considering that we gave them two goals due to our silly mistakes," said Lebusa said the pre-match presser. "Obviously, they are a good team, and they don't easily give you a chance.
"Come Sunday we have to give our best as a team and make it to the group stage.
"We have to minimise our mistakes to stand a better chance of advancing. In the CAF Champions League, you rarely get away with a mistake. We have learnt a lesson.
"Maniema have good players who are always on your neck. They come straight to you. They bring many (goalmouth) crosses and they play forward when in possession."
Ncikazi says Pirates are braced for another physical encounter and he regrets that his side does not have the cushion of an away goal.
“They are a very physical side - a typical team from Africa," said Ncikazi. "They play a direct game and with not too many combinations.
"They just go wide and load up cross kicks into the central areas. What is important for us is the position we have put ourselves in. We did not score away from home otherwise it would have been a perfect scenario.
“We have to play to win the match, irrespective of the scoreline. This is what we have been working on. We must try and score and limit them from scoring.
“We are confident about how we are prepared for the second leg. We are positive about getting a winning outcome.
“Our main focus is scoring but the defensive balance should be on point.
"They have physical strikers in the striking zone, but we have the capacity to get the result we need to move to the next round.”